News is the information that is reported in newspapers, magazines and on television or radio. It also includes what is found on the Internet. People have been using these media for a long time. They have provided them with a convenient and often fast way of getting their news, especially when it happens far away. It has also allowed them to share their own views on a story with others.
People have to make decisions about how much and from whom they get their news. They need to consider the quality of the news they receive and what it is about. They must also consider the effect that the news will have on them. The more important the news, the more they will probably want to read or watch it. But it is not always easy to distinguish the news from the propaganda and opinion pieces that are also being transmitted.
The main function of the news is to tell us about what has happened, and sometimes what may happen. But it has a further role as well, which is to teach, entertain, inspire, and even to change our attitudes. This can be done only if the news is presented fairly and honestly.
Most news is dramatic in nature, that is it involves good and bad characters and situations. For example, a story about a robbery at a store will highlight who was robbed (the good) and who did the robbing (the bad). Other examples of drama in the news include a war, an accident, a fire or the death of someone famous. Stories that are based on money are also usually considered newsworthy, including fortunes made and lost and compensation claims. Other stories that make news include weather events, crop diseases and harvest sizes, food prices and wage increases, economic crises, and the budget.
Stories about the arts, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema, are often considered newsworthy, as are those that concern celebrities. Other stories that are newsworthy include animals and sport and events that are unusual, interesting or significant. News is also of interest when it affects the lives of a large number of people or is very local.
When deciding what is newsworthy, many journalists use what is known as the five elements model for selecting stories. The stronger each of these elements is, the greater the news value. These are: Exclusivity – the story has to be new and exclusive, first to the news organisation; Unusual – it must have something that makes it stand out from other stories; Interest – it should be about people; Significant – it must involve a lot of people or be very important; and Dramatic – it must have a clear good guy and bad guy. It is also worth remembering that news stories are designed, ultimately, to capture an audience for advertisers. Therefore, they are not necessarily a record of what really happened. This is a key reason why it is important to encourage students to check their sources of news carefully.